Ed Stein

Ed Stein
Denver, Colorado, USA
November 22
Former editorial cartoonist for the Rocky Mountain News. Creator of Freshly Squeezed, a comic strip about family togetherness after the economic collapse, syndicated by Universal Uclick


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JANUARY 27, 2012 2:20PM

Unhappy Returns

Rate: 9 Flag

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Nick Carraway observes that “the rich are different from you and me.” Mitt Romney’s tax returns confirm it. The rich have access to deductions, evasions, loopholes and favorable rates we working stiffs can only dream of. The absurd truth is that the wages earned by those of us who get paychecks from employers are taxed at the highest rate of any income. The lucky stiffs who run hedge funds and private equity firms get to take income as carried interest, whatever that means. In tax terms, it means they get to make lots of money for investing other people’s money and have it taxed at obscenely low rates compared to what we working stiffs pay. Then there are the Cayman Islands accounts and Swiss banks. Show of hands, please. How many of you have Swiss bank accounts? I don’t resent wealth; like most Americans, I aspire to it. What I deeply resent is a political system that jiggers tax law to favor the rich over the rest of us, feeding the income inequality that destroys opportunity and stagnates growth. The wealth disparity in America already rivals that of many Third World countries and our storied social mobility is rapidly becoming a fondly remembered relic of bygone days.

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You forgot the insidious layed-off-stiff who cashed out the 401k line
True. Rated for clarity!
Sharp. But one should never explain cartoons, it's tedious. It's like listening to a lecture on Hitchcock. Really, shut up, prof, and run the film!

I liked the cartoon and the commentary. I always fall into a deep funk around tax time (good for me I'm trying to tackle it "early" this year, which would be now, February, and not wait until the day of). I don't know what the solution is, other than I more or less agree with what you've said. As I'm no math or accounting wiz I use TurboTax, which like most computer related things I have a love-hate relationship with. I'm grateful for it, but sad that it's even necessary. Sad too that I started the process of trying to get it at 3pm this afternoon and now it's after 8pm and I finally have it (the promo CD they sent out was apparently faulty and when you call them -- or call India -- I was on hold for an hour total). So when and where do I find the time to actually work to pay the tax man?